How to Revive Dead Grass for a Beautiful Lawn

A beautiful front yard lawn after grass reviving.

A yellow or brown lawn is not appealing. Whether it was a hot summer, long winter or just neglect while you were away from home, if you have dead grass, it is time to consider ways to revive your lawn. In many cases, there are methods you can use to revive lawn and grass to avoid replanting or replacing grass. Here are some tips on how to revive dead grass to restore a beautiful lawn.

Do You Have Dead or Dormant Grass?

The first step to finding the best way to revive lawn and grass in your yard is to determine whether your grass is still alive. Yellow or brown grass may be dead, which means it will not come back, or it could be dormant. Unless you have left your lawn unattended for many months without water or it has been plagued by disease, it is likely in a dormant state. Here are some ways to tell whether you have dormant or dead grass.

Turn on the Sprinklers
A little water should awake dormant grass if the weather has been hot and dry. Just watering it may not be enough to completely revive lawn and grass, but it can spark some life from your grass. If you see the blades perking up or a little color returning, the grass roots are alive, and you can begin working on reviving.
Check Your Grass Roots
Can you easily pull a tuff of grass out of the soil? This is a bad sign. Grass blades will become brown or yellow if the grass does not have enough water or nutrients, but the roots are still alive and connected to the soil. If you gently pull on grass, it should give resistance. If it comes up, you may need to reseed or sod your lawn, as you cannot revive dead grass.
Is Your Entire Lawn Brown/Yellow?
If your entire lawn is the same color, it is likely dormant grass that needs a rival through hydration and nutrients. If there are patches of yellow or brown, you may have dead grass in those specific areas. Dog urine, disease, pests and other issues can kill grass in areas, leaving patches of dead grass in your lawn. Uneven watering can also cause uneven colors, but in that case, watering the patches should bring it back to life.

Revive a Lawn with Dormant Grass

If you have determined you have dormant grass, not dead grass, you can bring it back to life. Watering your lawn deeply (soil should be wet several inches) once or twice a week can help begin the revival process. Depending on how depleted your grass and soil is, you may need to perform some other lawn revival steps. Adding nutrients to the soil and allowing for better air/water penetration can bring your grass back to life faster.

Fertilize
Grass thrives when it has the right combination of phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium. The best way to determine the right fertilizer for your lawn is to test your soil and then add the appropriate fertilizer – many people will ask a landscaper to do this for them. You can also use a general grass fertilizer designed for your type of grass – spread it evenly over your lawn in the recommended amount, then water thoroughly afterward.
Remove Weeds
Weeds can steal the water from the soil that grass needs and choke the roots. Weed killer or fertilizer with weed control can help minimize weeds that are trying to overtake your weakened grass. Hand pulling weeds is time consuming, but it is also very effective.
Aerate and Mow
Aerating your lawn can break up compacted soil, allowing for more air, nutrients and water to reach grass roots. Mowing can also be beneficial if you leave the clipped grass on your lawn. The decomposing grass blades can provide natural nutrients to your lawn and help bring it back to life.
Topdressing
Improving the soil composition can be accomplished without removing grass by using topdressing. This is a combination of soil or sand that is spread over your grass to improve the top soil. Like aerating, it can help loosen the top soil, especially if you have native soil that tends to be dense, like clay.

Lush lawn after dormant grass reviving.

Unfortunately, you cannot revive dead grass in a lawn. It must be removed or tilled, then reseeded or sod installed. However, dormant grass can be brought back to life with the right combination of nutrients, soil preparation and hydration. To revive lawn and grass quickly, it can be helpful to have a lawn professional perform resuscitation with soil testing, aerating, topdressing and fertilizing to get your grass healthy again. With the right landscaper on your side, you could have a beautiful, green lawn again in just a few weeks.